Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Belated Blurby Gratitude

For me, one of the hardest, most anxiety-producing steps along the way to publication was getting blurbs. I think the word blurb sounds the way it felt to ask someone I greatly admire, who I knew was incredibly busy, to read my book, my heart, my soul.

Bluuuurrrbbb.

But! I was lucky! Two of my favorite authors, who each weave incredible word magic with depth of heart and soul, agreed to read my story – and were kind enough to share their thoughts – in a public on the back of my book kind of way.

Huge amounts of gratitude. From my heart, so sincerely.

Thank you, thank you, to Karen Foxlee and Jo Knowles.

Each of them is incredibly talented – and brilliantly eclectic – in their writing.

THE MIDNIGHT DRESS by Karen FoxleeKaren, an Australian author, has written two realistic novels for young adults – and in each of them, strong teen girls are struggling with growing up. THE MIDNIGHT DRESS is unlike any book I’ve ever read – it’s lush and mysterious and dark and hopeful, all at once. The Horn Book’s starred review said, “Though the layers are many, they coalesce into a dreamlike, eerie whole told in mesmerizing, sensuous prose.”

And then there’s her middle grade fantasy, OPHELIA AND THE MARVELOUS BOY, which Kirkus starred and described as, “A well-wrought, poignant and original reworking of Andersen’s “The Snow Queen.

I say it’s amazing. Gorgeous. Magical.

And then there’s Jo Knowles. 

More than one person has identified Jo as “the nicest person in the universe.” Although I’ve never met her, I suspect it might be true. 

I first became aware of Jo, and her powerful, important books while I was working on my MFA at Vermont College. She was (and still is) a close personal friend of one my classmates – who is now one of my dearest friends. I was new to reading young adult literature and wow. Her first book, LESSONS FROM A DEAD GIRL blew me away. It resonated with me in a new and unfamiliar to me. I was an instant fan. 

Since then, she has written several more books and I own all of them. Jo tackles tough topics, never shying away from the truth, even when it hurts. But her books also have hope. Forgiveness. Heart and soul. They fill you up. 

READ BETWEEN THE LINES by Jo KnowlesI just received her newest book, READ BETWEEN THE LINES. It’s written in several – I think 11 – different points of view. I can’t wait to read it, but I’m not the only one looking forward to it. After all, it’s already received several fabulous reviews, including a starred one from Kirkus, “The book proceeds, each new character entering, with his/her realities, dreams and secrets becoming another masterfully woven thread. With emotional explorations and dialogue so authentic, one might think Knowles isn’t creating but channeling the adolescent mind. A fascinating study of misperceptions, consequences and the teen condition.”

 

And so, a belated but oh-so-sincere THANK YOU to both Karen and Jo. It’s an honor to have your names on my book.

~Sarah

 

 

 

 

 

Why, yes, it HAS been a long time!

But hey… check out this exclusive excerpt for my upcoming novel, MY BEST EVERYTHING on the website of the incredibly hip and cool and group, FOREVER YOUNG ADULT ~ a site dedicated to the YA readers who are “a little less Y and little more A.”

Yeah, I’m thrilled. 

And don’t be put off by the term “exclusive” ~ everyone’s invited!

This scene takes place after Lulu, Mason, Roni and Bucky have made moonshine for the first time. They haven’t sold any yet – they haven’t even gotten up the nerve to taste it. 

I hope you’ll check it out!

~Sarah

M

To be released March 3, 2015 from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

 

 

 

*Warning! Shameless plugs and gushing ahead!*JumpFroggiesfinal

Here is a riddle:

By the pond you spot a sign: Writing for Children. In the pond, three frogs sit on a log. One decides to jump.

How many are left on the log?

Three–because there is a difference between deciding and doing.

Author Edith Hope Fine has written a wonderful book for beginning authors and veteran authors as well.

Here is the description:

Do you dream of writing for children but don’t know where to start? Jump, Froggies!: Writing Children’s Books is the perfect book to start you on your path to publication. Award-winning children’s book writer Edith Hope Fine takes you on a step-by-step journey through the world of children’s book publishing. From writing techniques to jump-start your creativity to how to submit your work, from getting your work published to marketing yourself and your projects, this book includes more than eighty-nine practical tips, plus journaling ideas for aspiring writers. Jump, Froggies! is a must-have for anyone beginning a career in children’s books.

*Shameless plug #1* My blog buddy Sarah Tomp and I each contributed to the eighty-nine practical tips.

*Shameless plug #2* I designed the cover and interior art for this book.

Here comes the gushing part: Jump, Froggies! is a must-read for all budding authors. Edith Hope Fine is a genius, she delivers a wealth of information in a clear and concise manner. The tips are sometimes humorous, sometimes thought provoking, but they are all very helpful. This book will be on my recommended reading list.

So go out there and start writing,

Suzanne Santillan

Writing on the Sidewalk

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This past Sunday, I had the honor of meeting author John Corey Whaley. He was here in San Diego for an author event at our local independent book store (Yellow Book Road). He was in town to help promote his new novel Noggin(Antheneum, 2014).

Noggin comp rev2

Here is a description of the book:

Listen—Travis Coates was alive once and then he wasn’t.
Now he’s alive again.
Simple as that.

The in between part is still a little fuzzy, but Travis can tell you that, at some point or another, his head got chopped off and shoved into a freezer in Denver, Colorado. Five years later, it was reattached to some other guy’s body, and well, here he is. Despite all logic, he’s still sixteen, but everything and everyone around him has changed. That includes his bedroom, his parents, his best friend, and his girlfriend. Or maybe she’s not his girlfriend anymore? That’s a bit fuzzy too.

Looks like if the new Travis and the old Travis are ever going to find a way to exist together, there are going to be a few more scars.

Oh well, you only live twice.

It’s an intriguing idea for a novel. The concept of waking up five years later and having to deal with not only a new body, but how your loved ones have changed in the past five years. I can’t wait to read it.

It was interesting to hear some behind the scenes info about the story and about his other novel winner of the 2012 Michael L. Printz and William C. Morris Awards Where Things Come Back (Antheneum, 2012). It’s always fun to hear a little bit about an author’s process and I learn something new every time.

I will post my book thoughts later once I’ve had a chance to read the novel. In the meantime, happy reading and enjoy your summer.

Suzanne Santillan

Writing on the Sidewalk

 

My VCFA class name is “The Unreliable Narrators.” 

That’s because we’re a bunch of lying cheating no-good dirty scoundrels. 

Inexcusable by Chris LynchBut also, that was a term we learned our first semester when everyone was talking about Chris Lynch’s INEXCUSABLE. It was one of those things that made it clear we were in a MFA Program. We could name those tricky things we admired in the books we read. 

Usually a reader suspends this world we live in while entering a story world. Our guide is the narrator. We sink in and believe what we’re told. An unreliable narrator is one that can’t be trusted. He or she is either lying or withholding information. The reader is not getting the whole truth – for a very particular reason. NOT because the author is lazy. It’s actually quite challenging to pull off. 

Maybe it’s just because I love my class of lying cheating no-good dirty scoundrels, but I do find a well crafted unreliable narrator story intriguing. I think it comes down to my delight in being surprised and also my interest in issues of mental health. Like Holden Caulfield, one shining example, the unreliable narrator is often incapable of telling the “truth” because he/she is a bit unbalanced. 

Oddly enough, I have just read three different books with unreliable narrators. They are far from being the same story, but they all use this technique to build tension and suspense. I don’t want to tell too much about the plots–that’s the whole point of this kind of story–but I recommend each of these.


we-were-liars by E LockhartWE WERE LIARS by E Lockhart
  The narrator is Cadence Sinclair, a wealthy seventeen year old girl–her family owns an entire island and that’s just for summers–with crippling headaches and a penchant for giving away all her belongings. (YA)

 

 

complicit_cover by Stephanie KuehnCOMPLICIT by Stephanie Kuehn is told by Jamie Henry, a seventeen year old boy. His family is also wealthy and he lives a life of privilege, but it wasn’t always that way. He and his sister Cate had a rough early childhood and they’re both still haunted. (YA)

 

 

Be_Safe_I_Love_You- by Cara HoffmanThe third book is a little different. Written for adults and with a focus on a soldier just back from a tour of Iraq, BE SAFE I LOVE YOU by Cara Hoffman is unusual in that Lauren Clay is an unreliable narration told from a close third person point of view. It’s far more typical for a story with an unreliable narrator to be told in first person so we only get information from that one dysfunctional perspective. But Lauren is so deeply troubled and altered by her experience, we can’t trust everything she sees and thinks. (Adult)

The excellent use of an unreliable narrator prompts me to return to the beginning and see what hints I missed. It’s fascinating to see how I was fooled. 

Go ahead and see what you think. You can trust me. Even if I am a lying cheating no-good dirty scoundrel.

Sarah Tomp

 

Have you ever been at the start of something big? That struggling actor you met is suddenly a box office favorite? That novel you read by an unknown author quickly moves up the best seller list? My husband recalls seeing a young comic starting his career at a comedy club up in L.A.many years ago. He was surprised when a few years later this comedian had moved from the comedy stage to become a big star. His name?

JimCarreyJim Carrey

Yesterday, I had two moments that I would describe as cusp moments. I was invited to a concert for an unknown band and I received the ARC for my best friend Sarah’s novel.

KPRIWe have a local independent radio station here in San Diego. For the past 10 years they have helped new bands kick off their careers with a small private concert for a group of  listeners. These concert’s have helped launch the careers of such artists as Jason Mraz, Shawn Colvin, and Imagine Dragons.

Last night my husband and I hopped aboard the Hornblower  ship Inspiration for a  a harbor cruise and to listen to a new band called the Bad Suns. It was the perfect night for a cruise on the San Diego bay.  The Bad Suns were talented and put on a great show. Speaking as a band widow of over 25 years and on how excited the audience grew through the evening, I predict this band will go far.
MBEI was also happy to receive the ARC for my blog buddy Sarah’s novel My Best Everything. I have been excited to watch this novel grow from pages submitted to our critique group to a full blown novel you can actually hold in your hand. To say I’m thrilled would be an understatement.

The novel has undergone several revisions, since those days long ago at critique group and after only reading the first few chapters (I did have a concert to attend) I am eagerly looking forward to see how the novel has changed and grown.

We can never predict what the future holds, but I can say that with both the band and Sarah’s book I feel like I am on the cusp of something big. I can’t wait to see if my predictions come true.

Happy reading,

Suzanne Santillan

Writing on the Sidewalk

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 68 other followers